INCOMPARABLE BLUE OF THE MORNING SKY
Incomparable blue of the morning sky over Bolingbroke as the storm passes dragging its veils of rain behind it. Driving for miles alone through the hills along the backroads. The long way to Silver Lake. Free of time. Free of demand. Free of persistence. The motion of the car along the black snake-backed roads a physical mantra a dynamic discipline that frees my mind through form to wander where it will. Sudden hurtful memories of having travelled these roads with people I once loved and who loved me many years ago. We wintered in these woods with cats and dogs and orphaned racoons around a Napoleon airtight stove stoked like a cannon with two year old red oak when snow closed the road off to the outside world like a wound that had finally healed. God bless them with a winding road like this one whoever they are now. I said who I was in my solitude and buried my name in the night. The rest is a gesture of fireflies trying to show off like constellations with an inflated image of themselves.
If you want to control your ox give it a big field. A starfield. A cowfield. A space fit for a mind to ruminate. I see Roman archictecture in the arc of a white horse’s back grazing on the rain-sodden blades of grass glinting in the sunlight among the goldenrod and battered New England asters trying to recover their old glory. A silver Russian olive ruffled like the feathers of a metal Byzantine bird preens itself beside an urgent Prussian blue river. My mother used to say that all I needed was a scar across my face to make a perfect Hohenzollern. She laughed when she said it so I never turned against her love of flowers and next to stars and and the pagan reverence I can feel for the mystery that looks out at me through a lover’s eyes like Venus in a sunrise earth hasn’t got anything to show me that’s more beautiful or gracefully expressive. Botticellian blue of the chicory and the egg-yolk yellow of the elecampane flying their colours like the poor country cousins of the sunflowers. Rural aristocracy. You’ve got to pull a lot of roots and rocks out of a lot of fields before you’re one of them. And then you’ve got to let yourself be overgrown again by the afterlife that abounds all around you like these hills with nothing but time on their hands. Just to be here is everyone’s crowning achievement.
I see morning Algonkians three hundred years ago collecting wild rice like the first words of a loveletter in the bows of the envelopes of their birchbark canoes. Naptha and beer. The birch know how to get things started. Now they’re eight packs to a carton and look like cigarettes on a toy logging truck I can buy for twenty bucks at the local native trading post. It’s only justice that they make a profit off my addiction to the tobacco they leave at the eastern door of my burial hut until my bones are dust and my ghost has gone with the geese just as Pthagoras the Ojibway and the Persians said it would. The worst thing about being a fallen angel is the withdrawal. O well. The greatest crusades of the most pious kings have been defeated for the pettiest of reasons. And it’s more my nature to go along with things like the seasons and trust my luck like a hunter than it is to settle down among the early birds and the worms like a farmer. There’s more Cain than Abel in the sacrifice God spurns but if I don’t have a cigarette I’m quite capable of murdering my brother all over again. It was a crow that taught me how to bury a man on the moon like a prophetic skull I could consult when things got worse. Prophecy can smell like a blessing but it tastes like a curse. It’s the same way with everyone who’s afraid of their happiness because they’ve become so enculturated by sorrow they don’t trust anything that doesn’t cast a shadow. Or believe there are demons who are condemned to do good against their wills in the name of enlightened self-interest. Their virtues have their vices by their tails. Turkey-vultures feeding on the entrails of random roadkill frozen in the Medusan glare of the highbeam that overwhelmed it like a mystic revelation of a white night in the wrong location. It’s one thing to be struck by lightning when its hot. It’s another to have it harden the glowing metal of a new sword in your trough of leftover wombwater until a cold snake of insight runs down your back like a spinal cord. When you see how deeply death depends upon life and you’re more appalled by what you’re becoming than what you’ve been sometimes all you can do is take your next breath like your own advice and make your way silently through the inscrutable woods trusting the same key fits the house of life as fits the house of death. Or run with the homeless who take shelter out in the open.
Thesis. Antithesis. Synthesis. The three Gorgons. The story of love. Tiune identity of the moon. Maid wife crone replaced by father son and ghost. Spontaneous reversals of spin in a charged particle field. How can anyone look at the sumac as it’s turning red and not see a phoenix? How can anyone say they’re lost and truly mean it when there are flowers all around them opening like starmaps though the way back to last summer is longer than the way forward into the fall by the lifespan of an abyss in every moment of a heart that can sometimes disappear like a bird so far into oblivion it can’t be measured in lightyears. The sadness of wild apples on the ground that no one will ever gather. The windfall of a pulse that couldn’t be found. The heart knows what the moon feels when everything’s been poured out of it like a half-finished cup of wine in the morning. One day the sun rose and the sundials just didn’t give a shit anymore. Fair enough. No way is one way of getting through. Let the door make the journey that it’s been encouraging everyone else to. And let the coming circle back on the going like a hinge or a Canada goose. Give a lot of space to things and you don’t have to worry about what time it is. There’s no birth or death in now. There’s miles of lonely open road through the wild countryside cratered by lakes in an overgrown No Man’s Land that’s forgotten there was ever a war to go to in the first place. And to judge by the peaceful farms placed like good books on a shelf within reach way back on the hillsides: anything to fight for. When I lived in B.C. words circled around me like seagulls around a lighthouse that was trying to start a new cult to replace the old solar system. It was much more Copernican than here where the world mountain sits on the back of a fieldstone turtle that lays its cosmic eggs in the sand like an early pioneer clearing the land to make way for tomorrow. Or as William Carlos Williams once said. So much depends upon the white chickens in the rain beside the red wheelbarrow.